Bond swim star Laura Taylor is swapping the Southport pool for the Perth surf.
The 18-year-old Exercise and Sports Science student, and recipient of the Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship, scored a silver medal in the 200m butterfly final on Monday night behind Wales’s Alys Thomas, who set a Games record of 2min 05.45sec.
Taylor was competing on her first Australia team but she’s a veteran of the surf lifesaving movement, having joined as a Nipper at eight.
Yesterday (Tuesday, 10 April) Taylor said she would go straight from the Games to the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Western Australia which begin next week.
She will represent Northcliffe in the Under 19 and Open swim team race and the Under 19 individual swim.
Taylor will hit the Aussies as a Games medalist thanks in part to a personal best performance by a dentist.
Her preparation was thrown into disarray by a toothache just over a week before the final and she underwent a root canal.
“It hurt (Easter) Sunday night but after it was taken out - all the nerves were taken out – I didn’t feel any pain after that,” she said.
“I just wanted it fixed. The dentist was good.”
It was the only pre-Games hiccup for one of the most laid back members of the Australian team.
“I was pretty relaxed and I didn’t put any expectations on myself. I was just happy to make the final,” Taylor said.
“I was in the zone and it was just like any other race.”
Her ecstatic family wasn’t as composed after the race.
“They were so excited and Dad starting crying,” she said.
Now that the pressure’s off, Taylor plans on chilling out at the Games village, supporting her Australian teammates and hopefully meeting a track-and-field legend.
“I’m hoping to go to the Rugby Sevens and some of the athletics,” she said.
“I think there’s a function we can go to and Usain Bolt is going to be there. I want to get a picture with him!”
Bond University Vice Chancellor & President Professor Tim Brailsford was in the stands on Monday night cheering on Taylor and Australian backstroker Minna Atherton, another Bond student and fellow Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship recipient.
“I was so pleased for Laura and Minna. They have worked so hard and with such dedication and determination,” Professor Brailsford said.
“It took world-class performances to beat them, and in Laura's case a Games record.
“I am just pleased we can support them and help them carve out a successful career beyond their sporting career.”
Bond students have made quite a splash in the pool in recent days as part of the Australian Swimming Team. In addition to Taylor's silver medal in the 200m butterfly, Madeline Groves bagged a silver in the 100m butterfly and bronze in the 50m butterfly, while Alexander Graham and Elijah Winnington formed half of the record-setting men's 4x200m freestyle relay team.